Editor’s note: The following editorial was written by the Leadership Auburn Class of 2008. Four-buck gas. Foreclosures. A forecast for more of the same. Yes, it’s a smoky jungle out there, economically speaking. But there are things you can do to improve economic life in the greater Auburn area. And when the economy hums, the rest of the community sings along. Shopping in Auburn must be a priority. If your habit is to pack up the SUV and head to Roseville on weekends for warehouse-style shopping, consider the plethora of shopping opportunities here. Take one month – or even just one weekend – and vow not to leave the foothills for any purchases. Shop for meat at local markets, and stop by Auburn’s award-winning farmer’s market for PlacerGrown fruits, vegetables and more – in season and oh-so fresh. Visit a local shop you haven’t before, and have lunch in one of the many locally-owned restaurants. You’ll be amazed at the variety of items you will find, the food you’ll taste and the service you’ll receive. And when you factor in the $10 to $20 in gas you’ve saved, you’ll be smiling even more. Once the smoke clears, make Auburn your destination for a local vacation or “localcation,” a word coined by Gold Country Fair General Manager Greg Hegwer. Rather than staying home for a “staycation,” tell friends you’re leaving town and make reservations at a local inn or bed and breakfast. You’ll feel like you’re a world away from the house and yard work you left behind. Go wine tasting or hike in the canyon. Play golf among the oaks at dawn. Experience the rush of whitewater rafting. Visit art galleries and antique shops. Listen to the Auburn Symphony. Scream above the din at Fast Fridays. People from around the world see Auburn as a great vacation … shouldn’t you? If you own a business here, hire local workers. Auburn employs thousands, many of whom make the trip north from the valley every day, while others commute to Roseville and Sacramento. Keeping employees – and living wage jobs – in Auburn should top the list for city and county leaders. Volunteer. Auburn has hundreds of jobs for youth, adults and seniors. Environmental, sports and educational opportunities abound. Senior programs need help. Museums need docents. Giving back a few hours a month might be the greatest gift you can give your community. When you shop, recreate, work, hire and volunteer in Auburn, you’re making a huge investment in Auburn’s sustainability. When that feeling spreads to your friends and neighbors, the returns are huge. Learn what’s going on in Auburn, and you’ll discover you are the change you’re seeking. One step along that journey could very well be Leadership Auburn. The 2008 class graduated this week after nine months of curriculum and community project work, and many members are now plugged into the community service grid. They’re ready to make the investment. Are you? This is the view of the 2008 class of Leadership Auburn: Larry Au, Tad Berkebile, Linda Bradley, Michael Garlock, Greg Hegwer, Gary Hopping, Dave Horsey, William Johnson, Bill Kirby, Cedric Lee, Leslie Maita, Linda Maeding, Carolyn Metzker, Beth O’Brien, Michael Otten, Scott Owens, Stevie Rea, Curtis Smith, Susan Teixeira, Darrin Van Dyke, Cindy Wharton, Laurie Whitton, Sue Yassu.